For several years, data science company dunnhumby has been conducting an online survey of U.S. households with respect to the American grocery industry. In January 2022, dunnhumby released its most recent survey. The 2022 edition involved “insights from 10,000 U.S. shoppers about what matters to them most when shopping at 60-plus retailers.”
Here are some of the highlights from the study, with a particular emphasis on Aldi and its distant cousin, Trader Joe’s. We’ve also compared these results to the 2019 study, which we covered that year.
1. When it came to price, Aldi was #1.
Aldi held the #1 rank in 2019, too. The report notes that while price is not as head-and-shoulders above other considerations as it used to be, in part because of the pandemic, it remains a major factor in customer perception. Aldi private labels remain the primary reason why the German supermarket can keep prices down. Walmart, for comparison, sits at #8.
In 2019, Trader Joe’s was #7, but it did not make the top tier for price in 2022.
2. Trader Joe’s was #2 in quality.
Trader Joe’s trailed only Wegmans in this category, and this year’s ranking reflects a slight improvement from #3 in 2019. Like Aldi, Trader Joe’s operates mostly with private label house brands, but unlike Aldi (which did not make the top quartile for quality in either 2019 or 2022), the quality perception of those private labels is high.
3. Aldi was #3 for speed, while Trader Joe’s was #6.
Aldi continued to earn strong marks for its fast checkout experience, trailing only two regional grocers — Fareway and Grocery Outlet — in this category. Aldi also placed ahead of Amazon. (In 2019, Aldi was #2 for speed behind the online giant.) Trader Joe’s was slightly ahead of its #7 ranking in 2019 and also continues to earn marks as a brisk store to shop.
4. Neither company made the top quarter for three of the categories.
Aldi and Trader Joe’s are nowhere to be found in the digital category. This is no surprise. Trader Joe’s has improved its digital presence over the years but continues to make its in-store experience the cornerstone of its business model. Right now, for example, you can’t buy Trader Joe’s groceries online. Aldi, meanwhile, conducts its digital transactions through Instacart.
The two companies also were missing from the promotions / rewards category and the convenience category. Neither is a surprise. Promotions / rewards deals with the ease and use of rewards and coupons, something Aldi and Trader Joe’s don’t do. The convenience category, among other things, deals with product variety and the ability to get everything in one place, something small inventory grocers don’t specialize in.
5. Overall, Trader Joe’s came out #6 in the composite rankings, while Aldi ranked #7.
This represents a drop for Trader Joe’s and a rise for Aldi compared to a few years ago. Back in 2019, TJ’s was #1 in the rankings but has dropped since then. Trader Joe’s continues to score strongly in many metrics, but the rise of COVID and the increased importance of a digital presence has impacted how dunnhumby ranked the grocer.
Aldi, meanwhile, has climbed from #11 in 2019. In the report, dunnhumby noted that Aldi has improved its digital presence, and while it lags behind other stores in that category, it remains strong in many other places.
Amazon, incidentally, ranked #1.
Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.